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Permanent link to archive for Tuesday, June 27, 2000. Tuesday, June 27, 2000

Frankly my dear 

Wired: AOL's Digital Rights Dilemma. "AOL is about to become the world's largest content company. Along with its more than 22 million subscribers, merger partner Time Warner has well over 120 million combined subscribers for its magazines and cable services. Also on the consolidation train is Warner Music, a division of Time Warner, and EMI, a major music label."

Reuters: AOL Inks Security Deal with Intertrust. "The companies hope their deal is the next step toward selling digital music, video and text files over the Internet, while protecting copyright material from piracy."

NY Times on the InterTrust/AOL deal.

What are Frankentoons? "Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn whether you've always depended on the kindness of strangers."

The music discussion continues 

The music industry has the same problem the software industry had in the 80s. The presumption of guilt of their customers. Our battle was over the same issue, copy protection.

A story. I remember overhearing a water cooler conversation in my 80s company. The people were telling "stupid user" stories. At the next company meeting I told them that all our users are smart. They're smartest people on the planet, because of all the choices they could make, they chose to purchase our product. They pay our salaries. Without them we'd be jobless. If you don't like them and respect them you should work elsewhere.

I'd argue that any company or industry whose interest is aligned against the interest of their customers has no future.

MacHack hacks  

MacWEEK: "Created by a group of Apple engineers, it searched all the active AirPort networks at the show (virtually everyone was on AirPort) and displayed any JPG images that were found. They didn't find any porn, but they did uncover a gigantic picture of a marijuana plant in addition to numerous photos of cats."

How to suck up to the media 

Buzz 2000. Top tech reporters tell PR people (and their mindless clients) where to shove it.

Come we have work to do in SF, 7/11.

RSS Modularization Proposal 

Rael Dornfest posted a proposal to add modules to RSS using XML namespaces.

I not a big namespaces fan. I like new elements that have imperfect names and that are supported in content by leading content providers.

Microsoft's Java Killer 

The Register: "Well, syntactically it's very Java like, and from a distance, the two are practically indistinguishable. Look closer and you get the definite impression that its authors know Java pretty well, but were annoyed by some of its idiosyncrasies."

Later in the piece Elliotte Rusty Harold is quoted: "If Microsoft wanted to really challenge Java, they should have gone with Python. I just don't believe it's possible for any major advances in language design to be made while restricting oneself to the mistakes Kernighan and Ritchie made 30 years ago."

Gruppo di discussione 

Manila-Newbies: Multiple Languages.

Now that 6.2 has shipped, and we're fully upgraded on all our servers, every UserLand-hosted Manila site has a choice of language, French, German, Italian, Dutch or English.

As a temporary demo, I've switched over to Italian.

It's now a gruppo di discussione.

Performance of SOAP 

A common myth is that SOAP does not perform well enough. I've heard this from people who participated in some way in the development of the low-level protocols of the Internet, things like DNS and SMTP.

"It won't scale," they say. "Trust me little newbie, we know."

To which I say, it depends on what you use it for.

In the early 80s, I never would have done an object database for the Apple II, even though it was an excellent machine with a lot of advantages over the Unix machines I used to use.

Even if I had known how to write an object db, it never would have performed. By the end of the 80s, the machines had multiple megabytes of RAM, so some of the ideas I hadn't dared explore in the early 80s were possible. Today with much more RAM and huge hard disks, the bet on object db technology works even better.

Same with scripting. In the late 80s, a script that processed a stream of text could only be run once in a while. Today, script code runs faster than assembler code used to in the 80s. And CPUs are getting faster all the time. Which assumptions will we be able to loosen in the coming years? That's what I'm thinking about now, as is every other professional developer.

So the "It Won't Scale" argument only holds water if we apply the technology unwisely. Performance is always one of the biggest considerations in designing software. Yes, we design software for tomorrow's hardware, but if the software doesn't run well on today's hardware, it won't gain traction. And today hardware includes the hardware of the Internet.

PS: I wonder what the nay-sayers think of GIFs, JPEGs and MP3s. The Internet wasn't designed to carry them either.

PPS: Jump out of the plane door. Leave the parachute behind.

A new job 

I am going to moderate a panel for the Bandwidth Conference, in SF, August 17-19.

My panel is entitled Hi Speed Fan. "The fan of the future - how will they discover, enjoy, participate in and purchase music? With the advent of new technologies, how the fan experience is changing and will continue to change."

XHTML for Web developers 

A List Apart: Rated XHTML. "XHTML is HTML written according to the XML rules of well-formedness."

Come Dancing 

Today's song is Come Dancing by The Kinks. "Come dancing, that's how they did it when I was just a kid. And when they said come dancing my sister always did." What a sweet song.


Last update: Wednesday, June 28, 2000 at 6:55 AM Eastern.

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